MILLEDGEVILLE — Locals are volunteering in various initiatives to help Communities In Schools of Milledgeville-Baldwin County (CISMBC) eradicate illiteracy, poverty and unemployment through the Certified Literate Community Program (CLCP). More than 7,800 volunteer hours were provided to the local organization in Fiscal Year 2012, earning CISMBC the 2013 Advocacy Award for Volunteer Hours by the Office of Adult Education (OAE).
“Our partnership between the public sector and private sector improves literacy levels for families in our community. The reason we’re receiving this award is because of our partnership with Georgia College and the community,” said Sandy Baxter, CISMBC executive director. “We were able to effectively work with Georgia College students to provide tutors in all of our schools, bring in trainees for adults, have events and raise funds. We’ve been in the CLCP for three years and it’s quite an honor to receive an award for the most volunteer hours for our first year efforts.”
Created in 1990 by the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the Georgia Council on Adult Literacy (GCAL) to combat the problems of low literacy by shifting the focus for such efforts to the community level, CLCP is a self-managed community effort. Local fundraisers, grants and foundations help fund efforts.
“The purpose of a Certified Literate Community Program is to promote literacy within the community. It counts everything we do in pre-k through adult,” Baxter said. “The CLCP with our adult group and all of our other programs help this community become more literate. We’re lowering the student dropout rate and we’re providing literacy programs for adults, so we’re tackling it from both ends of the spectrum.”
According to the TCSG website, qualification as a participant in the program requires a community to set a goal of reducing its functional illiteracy rate by 50 percent within 10 years. Once the GCAL and the CLCP state director approve the application for admission, the CLCP organization that has reached its stated goal after 10 years may apply for a final certification as a Certified Literacy Program.
“By having a goal to increase literacy by over 50 percent, for Baldwin County that means we have to increase literacy for over 3,000 individuals by lowering our number of illiterate citizens through adults obtaining their GED and preventing high school dropouts,” Baxter said. “There are already 85 counties and two cities in Georgia that have been certified. Baldwin County was approved to become a CLCP member three years ago, and we’re at the first level of our certification.”
Baxter plans to attend the GED Awards luncheon Thursday, Oct. 3 during the fall OAE conference in Atlanta to receive the award.
For more information about the CLCP, or to donate supplies, funds or time to CISMBC, call 478-452-3408 or visit www.milledgeville.communitiesinschools.org.
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